On the right track for communication

Doing routine work, it’s easy to get complacent. How do you make sure that safety is uppermost in people’s minds?  How do you communicate with them in ways that stick and change behaviour? This was the driving force behind Network Rail’s Safety 365 campaign, aimed at a “tough, cynical audience of frontline workers” across the industry.

MarkShaoulHead of Marketing at Network Rail, Mark Shaoul, (pictured) will be presenting at Melcrum’s Strategic Communication Management (SCM) summit in a few weeks on how the company worked with The Edge and other agencies to tackle safety communication. They produced a series of hard-hitting awareness films and a range of supporting material (from posters to interactive quizzes), and delivered these to employees around the country.  

I caught up with Mark to get the low-down on how he’s feeling about the summit and what professional communicators can expect from the event.

I asked him what he’s most looking forward to from the summit and he said: “It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to an industry event – certainly since the start of the credit crunch – so, for me, it’s about getting a rain check on our industry: what are people thinking, what are they planning, what are the challenges as we go through more ‘times of change’. I think it’s important for communications professionals to get a rain check on our industry and events like the summit are a good opportunity for like-minded people to get together.”

There has been a great deal of change in the world over the past 12 months and I quizzed Mark on what he thinks has been the most important consideration for professional communicators over the last year. “To be honest, I’m not much interested in the past –especially as there’s been so much change in the last year – it’s a different world.”

Mark’s due to speak on communicating important messages to frontline workers and I asked him to share with us his top tip for reaching out to frontline employees, which he says is to ‘speak their language’.

Safety communication is crucial in the railway and many other industries. At the summit Mark will be sharing his thoughts on how to make sure it’s uppermost in peoples’ minds. Here is a quick glimpse into one of the pieces of advice he will be sharing with attendees:  Plan (understand your audience). Do (deliver to the highest standards of consumer marketing) > Review (to your research and get feedback to inform your next plan).

The campaign Mark worked on has helped to change an ingrained culture at Network Rail and has been accepted as industry-wide best practice. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Mark, I’m looking forward to hearing more from you at the SCM summit.

SCM is taking place from 14-15 October (workshops on 13 October) at the Tower Hotel, London. I saw a Tweet from Rob Crumby today saying there are just 13 places left –see this link to find out more and to save your space.

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